The housing production is a determining factor in political, social, economic and architectural terms within the city.

Residential architecture dominates the cities in a decisive way, not only in quantitative terms, but for its intrinsic capacity to generate specific relations.

Lisbon’s metropolitan area is going through a period of profound transformation in which the conditions of access to housing are significantly changing. The production of affordable housing in quantity and quality and its influence on the public space are central themes, under discussion with this competition.

Therefore, the proposal is, first of all, based on a deep analysis of the territory in which it intervenes, interpreting the programmatic requests of the contest in order to design a social housing that coherently responds to today’s ways of living.

The very scope of the intervention is that of conferring to the building and to the urban space of Olho de Vidro the role of real reference points, able to positively influence the image of the neighbourhood. The project is thought as an “island», a well identifiable landmark, an exception that must be read as a variation to the system, but still integrated in it. It respects and favours the urban, physical and visual connections so as the volumetric and material relations. The proposal chooses to isolate the three residential buildings by orienting them to the south, placed in direct relation with the surroundings. By doing so, the relationship between built forms and voids (buildings and public spaces) generates the form of the new residential space.

Thus, the connection between private apartment and public space, the aggregation of common areas, the overlapping of the façade layers, the modular strategy applied to the constructive system and the importance of the typological plan are all determining factors in the design, to be read as constitutive parts of a whole.

The maintenance of the existing topographical condition, with the intention of preserving the memory of the place but also in a logic of controlling the costs of excavation and land transfer of the entire intervention area, is the motto for the design of the public spaces.

From the intact terrain only the necessary paths are torn, making two cuts between the housing buildings leading to their entrances, creating a permeability between the space located on the southern side and the street on the north so as to favour visual connections towards the valley. As a consequence, the buildings are attached to the ground on three natural platforms that configure the still and dynamic spaces.

The proposed urban composition in three separate buildings (to be read, at the same time, as a continuous built front), stems from the desire of adapting the construction of the complex to the lot. The search for the ideal orientation of the apartments, on one hand favouring the view from the inside and, on the other, favouring the framing of the buildings from the outside, determines the formal genesis of the complex.

The buildings are structured from a metric of 2.70 m, creating three equal bodies with a modular design. The chosen metric allows the fitting of all typologies, ensuring and reflecting the repetition logic of elements on the façade. This methodology of space organization allows the profitability of the construction area to fully comply with the program contents of the competition.


architects: OFFICE x Sara Maduro Raffaele Sarubbo, Sossio De Vita  |  team: Sara Maduro, Raffaele Sarubbo, Sossio de Vita  |  client: IHRU Instituto da Habitação e da Reabilitação Urbana, I.P.  |  status: Competition (2020)  |  location: Lisboa, Portugal (38.672103, -9.177764)  |  climate: Oceanic / maritime, Temperate  |  material: concrete  |  environment: Urban  |  visualizer: Riccardo De Vincenzo  |  budget: 2.355.000 €  |  scale: 2.530 m2 medium  |  ratio: 930,83 €/m2  |  types: housing, residential  |  views: 960